Sick of It

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I hate paperwork. I deal with it all day at work and I resent having to

spend my weekends doing it. Bad enough in a regular month, but now

with having to gather everything for taxes, as well as getting all the

certificates for tax credits from our remodel last year, I am tearing out

my hair. Did I mention laundry, bills, cleaning, and the grass is already

starting its spring surge, so add weekly mowing to my list of chores.

Don’t even think dusting! How does anyone who’s not rich enough to

afford a maid, an accountant, and a gardener get it all done?

Sick of It


Dear Sick of It:

Economists have this concept called “elasticity” (apologies to any real

economists reading this column). In this case, the elasticity of demand

is high: an expanding list of things that need doing. The elasticity of

supply is more limited: only one of you, and 24 hours in each day. The

only solution I can offer is focused attention.


Write the numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 on slips of paper. Fold

them up and put them in a bowl. The numbers are minutes. Do the

same with the various priority chores. Pull pairs, set the oven timer,

and get going. Even a focused 10-minute sprint of cleaning will leave

you feeling like your house is a little better off. If all you have is 10

minutes to start on your taxes, set up envelopes to start filing into, or

assembling the magic pieces of paper with the critical info. Obviously

you won’t make it till April without changing your sheets, but you will

develop a more productive rhythm and some greater sense of

investment in getting things done.